Posted in adventure, faith, family, happiness, Holidays, inner peace, Life, Musings, People, random

Monday Musings

After a fabulous Thanksgiving of my favorite sort- the kind where I have to do absolutely nothing besides show up and eat- where I miraculously avoided thinking mournfully about my family even once, and then a slow Friday after, where I may have done a tad too much online shopping, and then ventured over to Ogunquit to poke around, I was worried I’d used up all my luck. My happy luck, you know? Because I’ve been a bit of a mess since I’ve gotten here, struggling to right myself.

But Saturday was really good, too. My friend and I and our daughters drove up to Durham, Maine to a little craft fair at a farm and yoga center in the middle of the woods. Because pretty much everything is in the middle of the woods out here. The drive there and back took longer than our time at the market, but then that’s half the fun, really. I never get tired of looking at the houses here.

Yesterday dawned sunny and crisp, and Camryn and I took a nice long walk along our road which happens to be the same road that winds along the beach. On the way back, we stopped at the beach near our house, and for the first time in forever, my heart felt light and happy. I threw the ball for Lucy and played on the swings with Camryn. It was her idea to finally head home, and honestly, I don’t remember that ever happening before. For a brief moment there, I was content to let the moment unfold, to be where I was, to let myself not take the lead for once.

The thing about Maine is that it takes a long while to get anywhere, no matter where you are going. Sometimes this is a pain. But on a beautiful November day, when the sun is shining and everything looks like pictures from a calendar or a glossy magazine, it’s no trouble at all. We drove slowly into New Hampshire, listening to podcasts and pointing out sights to each other. We visited Aldi’s and picked up lunch from Chipotle, and overall had a lovely day. So many cars had Christmas trees strapped to the top, and every time you drive down a road you’ve been down before, it has changed a little bit. I love that.

Sometimes, when I am feeling happy I become aware of it, and I become nervous that it will end. I try to hang onto it, push too hard up against it, and inevitably ruin it with my grasping. But these last few days…I have been willing to allow the feelings to come or go, just enjoying whatever shows up.

I think part of it is that I’ve settled on the idea that this move is not meant to be forever. I’m keeping an open mind, of course, but believing that there is an expiration on this leg of the adventure makes it feel so much more enjoyable. And that’s really all I wanted, was to enjoy myself. To have these moments where I can hang, suspended in the wonder that surrounds me, existing right where I am for a while.

The holidays can be rough for people. They have been rough for me in the past, even when things were normal and going well. This year, I hope to fill the season with all the joy and wonder it deserves, because…no matter where I am, I’ll never get this time back again. And where I am right now is pretty extraordinary.

Posted in anxiety, family, Holidays, inner peace, kids, Life, Mental Health, motherhood, parenting, People, relationships

Another Great Christmas

a happy christmas

I woke up this morning (well, this middle of the damn night, really) in my fancy new pajamas, courtesy of my mama, looking about as smart as a half-asleep bed headed woman can look, and I have to tell you- I feel nothing right now except for gratitude for the day I had yesterday. My house, which I scrubbed from top to bottom on Monday, is in utter shambles all around me. There is a mountain of empty boxes behind me against the book shelf, there are tiny little plastic toy packaging pieces- or maybe they are toy parts? I don’t know, but…anyway, flotsam and jetsam liberally litters the floor and surfaces. My kitchen sink is piled high with dishes- you get the picture. It’s a mess. And I’m not even mad- about the mess, or about the fact that I fell asleep at 6:30 in the evening last night, leaving all of this for today me to deal with. You want to know why? Good, I’ll tell you.

Reason Number One: My last two posts involved me having a sort of mini nervous breakdown last week, and though I might have tried to make light of it (perhaps failing to do so) I was REALLY scared about the future implications of what that massive panic attack might mean. I didn’t know if it was just a one-off, or a terrible harbinger of mental problems to come. So the fact that my fear and panic and anxiety seems to have resolved itself and then some was enough to put me over the moon by Christmas day. Not only has the fear, anxiety, and panic receded, but I seem to have come out of it with a much better attitude and my feet more firmly planted on the ground. That intense fear I felt appears to have made my day-to-day fears seem so silly in comparison that I just don’t have time for that shit. I’m gonna live my life. This is very exciting.

Reason Number Two: Christmas stopped being about what I was getting a long time ago. This year it wasn’t even about what I gave to others, either- at least, not quite as much. Don’t get me wrong, I have found a lot of joy in gift giving as I’ve grown up, but now it’s more the feeling of being the mom of this family, being the home that my loved ones show up at to celebrate. Suddenly, I am the “mom”, the home, the destination. For the first time ever, I took so much pride in that. My tree was perfect this year, my home was clean and welcoming, I did it right.

Reason Number Three: Another first for me- I didn’t have a single second of worry about money this year. It’s not that I am rolling in it or anything, but I’m finally in a place where I am financially stable and did not have to stress about every penny. What a blessing this is! I have spent every Christmas of my adult life until now freaking out around Christmas time, worried that I wasn’t going to pull it off. This year was different, and for that I am beyond relieved. I didn’t go crazy by any means- why ask for trouble? But it was nice to not have to sweat it. I have worked and worked and worked to get to this spot, and it’s finally paid off.

Reason Number Four: I didn’t ruin everyone’s day with my own expectations, subsequent disappointment, and then unavoidable meltdown. Seriously, this has been a thing I’ve been known to do. Past years, I have imagined idyllic scenes of love and appreciation, respectful gift openings, and dinner at a perfectly set table…and when that all went to shit, as it will, I freaked out. This year, I just wanted to be happy. I let everyone do their thing. And I was there for it. I just kept being there for it, whatever “it” was. And guess what? I was far happier as a result. When Camryn started ripping into her gifts faster than I could register them, I let it happen. When Aisley didn’t want to sit down at the table with us for dinner, I let that go. When Devon fell asleep- in his car, then on the couch, then on my bed- I didn’t need to get upset. Why did I ever need to? Why let it bother me? I honestly tried to go with the flow this year, and it made everything so much better!

Reason Number Five: Devon and I decided to spend our holiday’s together with our daughter, rather than trying to figure out who gets her when and then one of us having to miss our girl on Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter. Gosh, that seems so sad, and I couldn’t really enjoy my day knowing he was somewhere feeling down and lonely. I’d like to think he feels the same. So, we co-parented like freaking champs yesterday. We cooked a beautiful meal together, we spent a peaceful day in each other’s company, and it was such a massive win for Camryn, whether she ever knows it or not. No fighting (except a brief spat about politics), no animosity, just her mom and dad hanging out with her on Christmas. That was the best thing we could’ve done for her, and I’m so proud of that.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. I am not a religious person, but I do love God, and I am deeply connected to my spiritual side. So I said many prayers of thanks yesterday, and shed a few tears of gratitude, and a few of sadness, for the family and friends I’ve lost the past few years. I went to bed healthy, grateful for my family, my tummy and my heart both full. What more can you really ask for from a day, especially Christmas? Not much. Not much more than that at all.

Posted in escape, family, Goals, inner peace, kids, Life, People, random, relationships

So…What’s The Plan?

whats-the-plan-298x300I like to have a plan. I feel better, safer, more prepared, when I have a plan. I like to know what is next on the agenda. Some people might say that this makes me a bit of a control freak…I’m not going to lie, they would not be wrong.  I lived the first thirty years of my life with absolutely no plan, whatsoever, and that is just no good, either.  I can kind of relax, you know, when I know that I have this long until we do this thing…

I have been in a relationship with someone for a very, very long time (more about that later) who is totally okay with “going with the flow” and just sort of “seeing what happens”, which, as you can probably imagine, tends to drive me out of my MIND.  There have been times over the past million  (five) years that we have not seen eye to eye on this particular subject. There have been times when his laid back-ness has driven me into a frenzy of control freaky-ness that has been nothing short of astounding.

Guess how far that got me?

Lately, I have been trying to relax a little bit (“For Christ’s Sake, Courtney!” says  his voice in my head.) and be a little more open to understanding the possibility that maybe things will  be okay even if I am not corralling everyone into their proper places. This weekend, we reached a very nice compromise- I went to an undisclosed location in California, where it is actual summer right now, rather than this gloomy, fogged in crap we get here on the coast, and I sat by a pool, in the sun, with a book, and I relaxed. I watched my two year old daughter swimming (or bobbing, actually, with her floaties and her little plastic blow up ring) with her father, and my sixteen year old lounging next to me, giving all of the teenaged boys- of which there were lots at this hotel, for some reason- whiplash when they walked by and saw her in a bikini. I just lay there and watched them turn brown. I literally did nothing. In a funny twist of fate, I had also forgotten my phone charger, so my phone was dead, keeping me from stress inducing phone calls and emails. No Facebook, no texting, NOTHING. Sometimes I did jump in the pool to cool off.  Other than that, nothing.

“What’s mama doing?” I heard my two year old ask her father.

“She’s laying out in the sun.” He answered. How funny that my kid sees me in that state so seldom that she has to ask her dad what, exactly, it is that I am doing.

The part where the compromise comes in is this: I found that I could ask some very important questions about our lives and future together in that atmosphere, with no heat behind my words, and get relatively satisfactory answers, with very little prodding and prying at all. It’s kind of hard to get all heated when it’s that…well, hot, and you are that mellow.

Another valuable thing I took from the time spent by the pool is that I am much more capable of coming up with solutions on my own when my mind is quiet and not being hassled every five seconds by another worry or alert from my phone. I made some important decisions over the course of the past few days. I came home tired, but also feeling very rested.

I still like to have a plan. My life operates at it’s finest when I am working towards a goal, or towards a set of goals. I like having a schedule, and I like having some idea of what each day holds for me. But I think it is best if I exercise that control over ME, and not expect everyone else to fall into my agenda like neat little puzzle pieces. That is very frustrating, for everyone, and generally requires the use of a hammer to make those pieces fit- that would be me, playing the hammer. Everything is not always going to fall into place, especially if you are very attached to your idea of what “in place” is.

My goal now is to leave some space in the puzzle for other people to be what they need to be. I think I will up my chances of things going well considerably, don’t you? So, I still have a plan…it’s to be okay with whatever happens next. I’m sure it will take a while to relinquish my imaginary control over everything, but that’s good. It gives me something to work on!